How to Choose the Right Life Coach
A life coach provides guidance to individuals who want to accomplish specific goals, but are having difficulty doing so on their own. Choosing the right life coach involves knowing what your needs and goals are and seeking out potential coaches through referral services or personal references. Before deciding on the right coach, you should research the life coach, interview him or her and participate in a sample session.
1 Assess your needs.
Life coaches base their practices on a particular subject area such as business, relationships, grief, mid-life issues, etc. Decide what you need life coaching for. If you are having problems with your spouse or children, you don’t want to choose a personal life coach whose focus is on weight loss. Understand that hiring a life coach is a personal investment that can be costly. The hourly fee for a life coach can run from $50 to $400 or more per 1 hour session.
Knowing the direction you want to take in life, and having some idea of what your goals are, will help you in choosing the life coach that can guide you in developing strategies to accomplish your goals. A life coach can help you if you feel stuck in a certain area of your life; help you stay motivated and help you to pursue a dream you have carried for a long time, but never took the steps to make it happen.
A personal life coach is not a counselor or a therapist. Life coaches work with emotionally healthy, high-functioning people who need support to achieve goals they cannot get from the people in their lives. A life coach does not treat mental illness.
2 Use a referral service.
Many life coach certification programs and professional organizations, like the International Coach Federation, offer a referral service on their websites. Most referral databases can be searched by location and area of specialty. A referral service will also inform you if the life coach is certified.
3 Get references.
Ask family and friends or associates for a reference. Be sure to get a reference from a person who has actually been coached by the person they are referring you to. Ask questions about the life coach’s personality, the area the coach specializes in and the emotional support the coach provides.
4 Research your potential life coach.
Once you have identified a life coach you think you would like to work with, explore his or her website or blog. Find out if the coach is a certified life coach and what area of coaching he or she specializes in. Try to determine if you share the coach’s perspective on life in general and in pursuing goals. Compare the information you gather from the life coach’s online presence with any information you have gained from personal references or a referral service.
5 Schedule an interview and a sample session.
Meet with the life coach and ask questions that may not have been answered during your research. Ask about the hourly fee and if the coach requires a commitment to attend a minimum number of sessions. Question the coach about his or her life coach training and the type of continued education he or she participates in. Verify the coach’s specialty and discuss the format of a regular session.
If the coach offers a free session, schedule one to determine if the coach is a good match. During the session, consider the following questions: Do you feel comfortable with the coach? Is this someone you think you can trust? Do you get the impression that the coach will hold you accountable for accomplishing your goals?